With a year under my belt as the editor-in-chief and six months as assistant editor, the Horizon room has become my home. I spend more time at school than almost anywhere else, and while some aspects of my life were pushed aside, I was driven to see it through to what I felt was a successful point of completion. As the year ends, I have reached that point.
My experience on the paper taught me how to do a number of different things, like making snap decisions and prioritizing what I put my time and effort into. I spent much of this time sitting at the head of a table in a room mostly full of men older than I was, telling them what to do, when to do it, and why. I’ve corrected endless mistakes, a number of which were admittedly my own, and I can’t read anything without mentally editing it.
I find the most useful skill I learned was how to deal with people to get the most positive outcome. Journalism sometimes involves making people care about something that really is not that interesting, and you have to be able to essentially affect the way people feel.
Journalists talk face-to-face with hundreds of people over the course of their career, and anyone who works with the public knows that this is never an easy task. You have to learn how to make people feel comfortable enough with you to act like they’re an expert on whatever they are talking about.
Then you have to be able to write in a way that caters to the interest of as many people as possible, while still presenting the unbiased facts. Any good journalist should be able to sit down with the same exact information as another and come up with an article that caters to a wide audience but is stylistically different in some way. While journalism may be one of the most honest forms of manipulation in today’s busy world (one would hope, anyways), there are thousands of other entities and aspects of the world that aim to sway people and herd them in a specific direction.
Everyone has an agenda, everyone has a different perspective, and everyone’s perspective can be changed by the things around them. What I have really learned from journalism and from running the paper is to think critically about all the factors in a situation and all of the viewpoints before I agree with someone or believe what they tell me. In a world where everyone wants you on their side, it is impossible to know what is truly going on in any given situation. There may not be any real truth to anything.
I want to believe the truth is out there, but I think you have to determine it for yourself. Your ideas and beliefs make up a huge part of who you are as a person, and that should be closely guarded. Everyone else’s perceptions are just as personal and just as easily warped and manipulated as yours is. Think deeply about what you truly believe, otherwise you will be a product of others’ ideas and opinions, not your own.
That being said, I want to thank all the students who have been my news team and have become my friends over the year, as well as my advisor for providing much-needed support to a crew of budding journalists.